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Entries / Cinema


Categories / Art/Cinema

CINEMA. The first Russian cinema show was held on 4 May 1896 at Aquarium, a St. Petersburg entertainment venue, showing the Brothers Lumiere's program of films. The show was repeated on 6 May in the first specially built Russian cinema at 46 Nevsky Prospect. Court photographer A. Yagelsky started regularly filming documentary footage of the imperial family and imperial court. A. O. Drankov opened the First Film Production Studio in St. Petersburg in 1902, the first Russian factory to produce motion picture film, on which he produced the first Russian feature film Free Spirit of the Lower Reaches or Stenka Razin and the Princess in 1908, considered the birth of Russian cinema. Regular showings of science films started at the Solyanoy Settlement and Countess S. V. Panina's Ligovsky People's House at the end of 1910. By the mid-1910s, St. Petersburg's cinema-world grew into an extended streamlined network, including film companies, distribution companies, movie theatres, and cinema-related publications. Some of the better known film artists from that period include directors V. M. Goncharov, A. A. Arkatov, and V. K . Viskovsky; and cameramen F. K. Verigo-Darovsky, N. F. Kozlovsky, and K. K. Bulla; famous film actors included V. N. Davydov, K. A. Varlamov, Y. M. Yuryev; writers who started cooperating with film makers included L. N. Andreev, D. S. Merezhkovsky, and A. A. Blok. By 1916, St. Petersburg housed nine production companies, 18 distribution companies, 144 permanent cinemas operating, and over ten special newspapers and magazines. Most of St. Petersburg's film companies closed down in 1917-18. A Petrograd Cinema Committee was founded under the Union of Communes of the Northern Region in March 1918. A film studio was opened in a mansion with a winter garden at 36 Sergievskaya Street in June 1918 to shoot the first Soviet films, such as Integration. The responsibilities of the Petrograd Cinema Committee passed on to Sevzapkino in 1922, which was later renamed into Lenfilm. The Association of Cinema Workers founded its department in Leningrad as the Leningrad Association of Cinema Workers, later renamed into the Leningrad Department of the Union of Cinematographers, and opened a Leningrad House of the Association of Cinema Workers in 1928, later renamed into the Cinema House and situated at 72 Nevsky Prospect at first and 12 Karavannaya Street today. Leningrad developed several cinema education venues between the 1920s and the early 1930s, with a School of Screen Arts opened under the Petrograd Cinema Committee in 1919 and reorganised into the Institute of Screen Arts later on, the Highest Institute of Photography and Technology founded in 1918 and now known as the Cinema and Television University, and a cinema department opened under the Russian Institute of Art History in 1925. Higher Directing Courses were arranged by Lenfilm in 1960s. Lenfilm remained the only feature film studio in Leningrad till the late 1980s operating along with the Studio of Documentary Films and Lennauchfilm. The film production and distribution system saw big changes in the late 1980s as studios modeling themselves on Lenfilm and headed by leading directors sprang up, including V. I. Tregubovich's Ladoga, S. G. Mikaelyan's Petropol, and V. V. Melnikov's Golos. Private studios were opened too, the most popular of them including S. M. Selyanov and A. O. Balabanov's STV, which produced Brother Part II and War, A. S. Staviskaya's Panorama, and the Ermolaev family's Globus-Film. St. Petersburg's leading directors, such as A. Y. German and A. N. Sokurov, also have their own studios (the former's studio is called Sever). Popular science and documentary film studios are undergoing similar changes. Two international film festivals have been held annually in St. Petersburg since the early 21th century: the Festival of Festivals, and Message to Man, a festival of documentary films. The newspaper Kinonedelya Sankt-Peterburga (St. Petersburg's Cinema Weekly) and the magazine Seans (The Cinema Show) are published in St. Petersburg today.

Reference: Из истории "Ленфильма": Ст., воспоминания, док.: В 4 вып. Л., 1968-1975; Ленинградский экран: Ст., творч. портреты, интервью. Л., 1979-1990. Вып. 1-2; Петербургское "новое кино": Сб. ст. СПб., 1996.

I. V. Sepman.

Andreev Leonid Nikolaevich
Arkatov (Mogilevsky) Alexander Arkadievich
Balabanov Alexey Oktyabrinovich
Blok G.P.
Bulla Karl Karlovich
Davydov Vladimir Nikolaevich
Drankov Alexander Osipovich
German Alexsey Georgievich (Yurievich)
Goncharov Vasily Mikhailovich
Kozlovsky Nikolay Feofanovich
Lumiere Louis Jean
Melnikov Vitaly Vyacheslavovich
Merezhkovsky Dmitry Sergeevich
Mikaelyan Sergey Gerasimovich
Panina Sofia Vladimirovna
Selyanov Sergey Mikhailovich
Sokurov Alexander Nikolaevich
Staviskaya Ada Semenovna
the Ermolaevs
Tregubovich Viktor Ivanovich
Varlamov Konstantin Alexandrovich
Verigo-Darovsky F.K.
Viskovsky Vyacheslav K.
Yagelsky A.
Yuryev Yury Mikhailovich

Karavannaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 12
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city, house 46
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city, house 72
Tchaikovskogo St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 36

Из истории "Ленфильма": Ст., воспоминания, док., 1920-е гг.: В 4 вып. Л., 1968–1975
Петербургское «новое кино». СПб., 1996
Ленинградский экран: Ст., творч. портр., интервью. Л., 1979–1990

The subject Index
Solyanoy Settlement
Union of Communes of the Northern Region
Lenfilm, Film Studio
Institute of Art History
Studio of Documentary Films
Lennauchfilm, film studio